Total War: Warhammer: Complete DLC Buying Guide

By T.J. Hafer 04 Apr 2017 0

Total War: Warhammer, other than being a missed opportunity for a cool name (Total Warhammer. You know it makes sense), has been incredibly successful for Creative Assembly. So much so, that we’re now being treated to a sequel in Total War: Warhammer 2.

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Sadly, this means we’re unlikely to see many more updates for the first game, and definitely no DLC as the free Bretonnia update is supposedly sending TW:W off “with a bang”. ED: Seems CA had a change of heart, since they've since released the Norsca DLC, see below. Even as things stand now though, there are enough premium extra lords and factions available as to add up to the cost of another full price game. Some give you more bang for your buck than others, and not all of them will appeal to all players.

We’ve taken some time to break them all down by what they add, what playstyles they cater to, and how much value you’re getting relative to the cost. This guide uses the base cost of each DLC, so obviously things change when you factor in sales and discounts. 

Archaeon 01

Chaos Warriors Race Pack - $8 | £5.99 (Free if you pre-ordered the game)

  • What’s in it?
    Unlocks the Warriors of Chaos faction for the Grand Campaign along with three legendary lords - Archaon the Everchosen, Sigvald the Magnificent, and Kholek Suneater. My personal favorite army from the tabletop game, Warriors of Chaos in Total War: Warhammer are a very strong melee infantry faction with cost-effective skirmish cavalry, some potent monstrous units, and a focused selection of magical troublemakers.

  • Is it worth it?
    If you weren’t willing to gamble on Total Warhammer before release and get this pack on the house, it will largely come down to how much you like playing the bad guys. Warriors of Chaos are a horde faction (meaning they have no permanent settlements and carry all their buildings with them), with an ultimate campaign goal of bringing desolation to all the “good guys” with the help of Norscan tribal factions they can “awaken” to serve the dark gods. I enjoy their playstyle and roster quite a bit. Three legendary lords is more than some of the other DLC factions can boast, though they have a somewhat unimpressive seven unique quest battles between them (mostly for Archaon - Sigvald only gets two and Kholek a measly one).

beastmen

Call of the Beastmen Campaign Pack - $19 | £13.99

  • What’s in it?
    Unlocks the Beastmen faction for the Grand Campaign with two legendary lords - Khazrak One-Eye and Malagor the Dark Omen (a third, Morghur the Shadowgrave, was made available later as free-LC and will be unlocked by anyone who buys this pack today). The Beastmen are an aggressive, skirmish-friendly army that specializes in lightning ambushes with fast infantry and some truly devastating monstrous units. This pack also includes a mini-campaign, An Eye for an Eye, in which Khazrak faces off against his human nemesis, Boris Todbringer.

  • Is it worth it?
    The mini-campaign is probably something you will play once and then never think about again, so the bulk of the worth of this DLC will come down, once again, to how much you enjoy the Beastmen lore and playstyle. They’re a horde faction, like Warriors of Chaos, but have some unique abilities like being able to set up a hidden camp to lick their wounds in secrecy after a tough battle, and using the “beastpaths” to subvert natural obstacles and enemy armies for excellent campaign mobility. They’re also one of the harder factions to get the hang of, and I probably wouldn’t recommend them for total newcomers to the game. The beastmen lords get a skimpy five unique quest battles, but their Grand Campaign final objective unlocks a sixth, rather exciting finale battle called The Fall of Man.

grim and the grave

The Grim and the Grave Lords Pack - $8 | £5.99

  • What’s in it?
    The top billing here are two new legendary lords: Volkmar the Grim for the Empire and Helman Ghorst for the vampire counts, but this only the tip of the spear. It also introduces two new Vampire units (Corpse Cart and Mortis Engine) and three new Empire units (Free Company Militia, Flagellants, and Knights of the Blazing Sun), as well as several Regiments of Renown for both factions - upgraded, elite versions of existing units. Finally, each faction gets a new lesser lord: the Arch Lector for Empire and the Strigoi Ghoul King for Vampires.

  • Is it worth it?
    If I had to skip one DLC on this list, The Grim and the Grave would be the easiest to give a pass. Ghorst is probably the least interesting Legendary Lord in all of Total War: Warhammer, and the one I’ve used the least by far in campaign or multiplayer. Volkmar is kind of cool in that he’s a religious leader, as a counterpoint to the Empire’s other options (a political leader and a magical leader). The coolest bits here are the regiments of renown, the new units, and the Strigoi Ghoul King, whom I absolutely love. If Empire or Vampire Counts is your main faction and you want full access to all of their battlefield options, this is probably worth getting.

king and the warlord

The King and the Warlord Lords Pack - $8 | £5.99

  • What’s in it?
    Following the format of The Grim and the Grave, this pack fleshes out the other two launch races. Dwarfs get King Belegar Ironhammer of the Eight Peaks and Greenskins get the ruthless goblin warlord Skarsnik. New dwarf units include Bugman’s Rangers and the iconic Bolt Thrower, while the goblins can call on Squig Herds and Nasty Skulkers. Each faction also gets a roster of Regiments of Renown and a new lesser lord (the Runelord for Dwarfs and the Night Goblin Warboss for Greenskins).

  • Is it worth it?
    Unlike the other Lords pack, The King and the Warlord is pretty effortless to recommend. Both Skarsnik and Belegar get interesting, different start positions from their base factions with objectives and campaign pacing that almost make them feel like new factions. The new goblin units make it much more viable to build goblin-focused armies than in the vanilla game, playing to their strengths and giving them some good cavalry options. Leading the humbled and beleaguered Belegar to retake his ancient, mountain home was challenging, engaging, dramatic, and overall one of my favorite campaigns in the game.

wood elves

The Realm of the Wood Elves Campaign Pack - $19 | £13.99

  • What’s in it?
    Unlocks the Wood Elves faction for the Grand Campaign with two Legendary Lords - Orion and Durthu. Wood Elves (another favorite faction of mine from the tabletop game) are superlative archers and masters of terrain, notable in that they don’t get any walls or defensive structures in the campaign - you’ll have to come up with clever ways to use the land as your fortress. You’ll also get the Wood Elf-focused mini-campaign, Season of Revelations.

  • Is it worth it?
    Wood Elves can be an extremely fun and also an extremely frustrating faction to play in the Grand Campaign. Their army roster can be devastating if used correctly, but their economic mechanics often force you to expand into lands you’ll have a very hard time defending… or else wait around in your forest and gain currency through making treaties with other “good” factions. That being said, I love every minute of playing Wood Elves that I’m not actively bashing my head against a wall. Like Beastmen, they’re definitely not a strong beginner faction. But for experienced players and those who like to maneuver small, fragile but deadly units around tactically to pick apart a superficially stronger army, they scratch a lot of itches. It’s also worth noting that Durthu’s focus on monstrous forest spirits can almost make it feel like you’re getting two factions for the price of one, as different as they feel on the battlefield.

blood dlc

Blood for the Blood God - $2.99 | £1.99

  • What's in it?
    To get around age-rating guidelines and restrictions, Total War titles have long since been devoid of any kind of blood, gore or other graphical representation of what happens when people try to kill each other. Starting with Rome 2: Total War (ED: that is the correct way round, by the way), Creative Assembly have been selling DLC that allows players to enable these kind of graphic effects. Like similar DLC in past games, this doesn't add an gameplay features - you only unlock some extra graphical settings so that you can see blood spill, limbs get chopped up, and all that other happy stuff.

  • Is it worth it?
    These DLCs always get bad ratings on Steam, but we suspect if it was made available for free they wouldn't be able to get the lower age-rating they enjoy - which is the whole point. If your really, really want to see heads get chopped off in your Warhammer campaign, then this is a no brainer, but is' hardly a "must have".

final pass norsca mammoth 1920x1080

Norsca Campaign Pack - $8.99 | £7.99

  • What's in it?
    Also known as the "fantasy Vikings" pack, this DLC introduces a new faction, the Norsca, complete with a new unit roster and some unique quest-like campaign objectives. They’re one of the most exciting armies to control on the battlefield, although on the strategic map they’re not quite as different and fresh feeling as, say, the Wood Elves, but still have a fairly hefty chunk of unique stuff to try.

  • Is it worth it?
    These guys have quickly risen to become my favorite roster to play in skirmish and multiplayer. Of their two legendary lords, only Throgg feels like he can match up to some of the beefier leaders of the other factions, and I felt the campaign ended suddenly and with an anticlimactic lack of fanfare after all of the epic events leading up to that final turn. Still, I can’t help but be impressed by the art, the mechanics, and the overall savage attitude packed into this DLC. It’s an easy one to recommend.

Along with the Bretonnia faction DLC mentioned above, there are a handful of other free DLCs as well, however these are exclusively all just extra lords for the base factions. Since you don't have to pay for these you can check these out at your leisure, however if you'd like a quick summary of what the Lords are like let us know in the comments and we can get back to you. The good news though is that there isn’t a single piece of DLC I’d call a for-sure pass or outright bad. The bad news is, if you’re on a budget, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Overall, you’ll get the most for your money if you pay attention to the playstyles the new lords and factions bring to the table, and focus on the ones that seem most appealing to you.

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